The grand prize finalists in the IGF are not, surprisingly enough, the cream of the crop. Rather, the games which end up in the Seamus McNally finalists are a hodgepodge of fantastic games, each of which is great in its own way. Where one person sees a cluster of retro-influenced pixels, another person sees deliberate designed minimalism to focus the game's intent. In other words, the grand prize is intended for games which can't really fit in only one or two categories category. Rather, these are the games which capture that elusive thing only known as "fun."
Design is one of the most important aspect of any game. After all, you can make your game's visuals be a collection of squares as long as the gameplay is fun and accessible. Thus we kick off our breakdown of the IGF finalist list with what we think is the most important category: design. The games listed here are entertaining, compelling, and often extremely simple. The one thing they all have in common, though, is the fact that the developer focused their efforts into making games which stuck to and innovated the concepts they wanted to approach. Not a single element is out of place in any of these games.
The finalists for the upcoming IGF 2011 Nuovo awards have been announced, and they run the gamut from interesting, gameplay-driven games to experimental art titles. Much like last year, some of the games are ones that utilize a simple new mechanic in such an artistic way, while others approach gaming from a completely new perspective. Regardless of what kind of game these Nuovo nominees are, however, we can't wait to get our hands on them.
The finalists are: Bohm, a game about controlling the growth of a tree in a zen-like environment; A House in California, an experimental adventure game that uses non-convential actions in a surreal environment; Nidhogg, a 2-player vs game about eviscerating enemies and rushing through the heavily pixelated stages; Dinner Date, a delve into the subconcious of a man being stood up by his date; Loop Raccord, a game where you manipulate clips to create the illusion of movement; The Cat and the Coup, an adventure-like game where you play a cat who reminds his owner of his downfall as the leader of Iran; B.U.T.T.O.N., a party game intended to force players to take wild, ridiculous actions in actual physical space; and Hazard, a puzzle game with philosophical elements and 4-dimensional physics.